Saturday, 19 December 2009

Them Crooked Vultures (2009)

Them Crooked Vultures for those NOT in the know are the spawn of three high profile rock legends in the music industry. John Paul Jones: composer, producer and bassist from Led Zeppelin; Dave Grohl, one of the most sought after drummers in rock and lead member of Foo Fighters; and lest we forget Josh Homme: prolifically the front man to Queens of the Stone Age, but also known to dabble in other projects including the brilliant Eagles of Death Metal, it's clear these three men know their music.

So is the self titled album any good? Well, from the outset you're drawn into a surreal world of lyrical ambiguity, which is thrust down your ear holes with such a well thought force that it's hard not to be impressed. Stand out tracks include Elephants; with it's anthemic stomp, and Scumbag Blues, which has a struttable riff that's hard to resist. Bandoliers takes you on an altogether different journey, while Reptlies is a peculiar experience of irregular timing and flashes of Zeppelin-like sounds. Gunmen however is one of the main joys of this album, with elements of Bowie, Zeppelin and Manson pounding through all four minutes and forty six seconds, where the rock and roll drumming is laced with heavy guitar riffs and haunting Homme vocals.

All three members of Them Crooked Vultures have so much to offer this new breed of bands forming side projects, but where others fail by putting less effort into a band apart from their original, TCV succeed as a supergroup.

Monday, 14 December 2009

'Profiles in Madness'

Vasko Kohlmayer's text Profiles in Madness could be considered borderline fiction, as the content, which delves into the cognitive descent of many prolific figures within the creative world of the 19th and 20th Century, has no substantial evidence to back up his claims to the 'insanity' of these populist icons. I use the term 'insane' lightly, as this is a frame of mind that is almost impossible to decipher, which raises more questions then answers as to what is deemed sane or not.

The text however does prove a very fascinating read, and portrays an intriguing account of the fragility behind these genius artists; from Van Gogh to Hemingway to Woolf, the text is split into ten chapters, each profiling the musings of ten different artists.

Kohlmayer's subjective text does not attempt to offer any in depth analysis to justify or explain why the creative minds of these figures were not viewed to be sane, or whether they were what rational thinkers of the 19th and early 20th Century deem as 'insane' from the outset. The text does raise the obvious question that links genius to a state of insanity, for lack of a better word, and the blurred line between the two. Kohlmayer does not dwell on the biographic details of each profile, but rather concentrates on the artist's downfall into psychological disarray, which is heartbreaking. The text does provide a very interesting subject matter, offering a sense of reality to a readership accustomed to perceiving their work through the veil of artistic madness.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Ch ch ch ch changes!

'Little is life with a hand full of hope and a fist full of fear.'

This is what I wrote to my older brother seven years ago when he was about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime. At 21 years old, he was just out of uni, ready to set sail and see the world. His trip would involve visiting countries and continents so diverse, where the landscape cracked, squelched, bounced and slipped underfoot that the adventure would change his own values and beliefs forever. So what is he doing now? Well he's taking the throttle and following his passion of photography. You can see his work here, where images he took from all over the world can be seen.

It's taken me a long time to realise what my dreams and aspirations are, and I may not fully know what I am meant to do. But now at 24, I know that those seven years slipped away so quickly, that I did not fully appreciate what I wrote until now. So I'm dusting off my ambition, I'm looking to my dreams and thinking. My hands of hope and fists of fear won't hold me back, and it's time to go, go GO!